Submitted by Spencer Ritchie
“We are in a new superpower rivalry with China. It’s a clash between communism and capitalism.”
The United States has been in a global economic battle with China for longer than most
American politicians realize.
The U.S. has been losing economic ground at a dramatic pace.
Understandably, the U.S. became focused on the war on terror following 9-11, but we made significant strategic mistakes over the last twenty years. Republicans and Democrats, alike.
Meanwhile, the Chinese have outplayed us when we didn’t seem to even realize we were in a crucial competition with them.
Just three months after 9-11, China was allowed into the World Trade Organization giving them a seat at the table of globalization and access to new markets. At this point, the U.S. was #1 in GDP with $10.3 trillion dollars, while China was #6 with $1.2 trailing Japan, Germany, United Kingdom and France.
Just two years later in 2003, the U.S. had its reasons to invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, but it proved costly.
Meanwhile, China used its trade surplus to make huge forgivable loans and investments in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Unlike U.S. loans, there were no strings attached and China’s global influence grew.
As the economy struggled in 2008, the U.S. was bogged down in the Middle East and Afghanistan with a $3 trillion price tag and over 5,000 U.S. military deaths. Americans were weary.
Meanwhile, China became the U.S.’s top creditor, hosted their first Olympic Games, conducted missile tests in space, and reclaimed small islands for long-term strategic purposes.
By 2011 – ten years after 9-11 – Americans killed Bin Laden and withdrew from Iraq but were still fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and would be for another ten years.
Meanwhile, China ended the U.S.’s century long reign as the world’s top manufacturer. The U.S. had been the economic superpower since World War II and the only military superpower since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. China was now #2 in GDP surpassing Japan. Without economic dominance, countries are not superpowers for long. Just ask the Russians.
In 2015, ISIS was born out of the Iraq War and the Syrian Civil War began to rage, while the war on terror seemed never-ending for Americans.
Yet, the Chinese kept moving forward economically and militarily. Their navy attained similar size to the U.S. navy – 260 battle force ships, six nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles, and aircraft carriers. And the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative to become the top producer for the European Union was in full swing. From 2011 to 2015, U.S. GDP grew about 20 percent while Chinese GDP grew over 90 percent.
In 2021, the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan. We have been focused on the war on terror for the last 20 years; meanwhile, the Chinese have attained many of their global objectives and their momentum is undeniable, if not impossible to stop. China has essentially come out of nowhere in the last twenty years to expand their influence at great cost to the United States. We have been reactionary in our foreign policy and China has been brutally strategic.
America’s freedom and opportunity drive innovation, encourage competition, unleash investment and create wealth. We are in a new superpower rivalry with China. It’s a clash between communism and capitalism.
Meanwhile, Congress is on a misguided mission to punish American tech firms with anti-competitive legislative proposals. The legislation would weaken the fastest growing sector in our economy but aid China in its objective to lead the global technology market.
If Congress wants to focus the conversation on the tech industry around censorship, political bias, or stolen goods on online marketplaces, that’s one thing, but this antitrust effort is unwise and dangerous and would harm the American people.
America needs Congress to get this right; our economy and national security are at risk. U.S. tech firms are essential because they are innovators and drive our economy and position us for long-term growth and stability. They support and promote all types of small businesses and start-ups; plus, they provide the digital tools necessary for Main Street’s success.
The U.S. has already given too much to our Communist adversaries in China. Now is the time for the White House and Congress to oppose this anti-competitive legislation before it helps reset the global economy even more.
Submitted by Spencer Ritchie is a Partner in the Jackson office of the Forman Watkins & Krutz law firm. He is the former Executive Director of the Mississippi Republican Party.